PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Legacy Data, Radiocarbon Dating and Robustness Reasoning

Archaeologists put a premium on pressing legacy data into service, given the notoriously destructive nature of their practices of data capture. The primary strategies by which they put old data to work for new purposes are, I argue, secondary retrieval, recontextualization, and experimental modelling. I focus here on the secondary retrieval of new data from old by means of radiocarbon dating. The successful dating of physical samples extracted from legacy data typically depends on a genre of robustness reasoning. I identify conditions for success in this that are made explicit in debate about chronologies based on legacy data.

Author Information:

Alison Wylie    
University of Washington / Durham University


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